San Francisco Product Design Guild

August 15, 2013 Aaron Lawrence

Design at Pivotal Labs has a lot to do with collaboration with in-house teams and local communities. Pivotal Labs took the opportunity to help host the San Francisco Product Design Guild last Saturday. The Product Design Guild is an event that reaches out to local Designers to come and share their work in a fun, collaborative environment. The structure of the meeting works by breaking into small groups giving those who share their work an opportunity to receive a informed critique that aims to create conversations that lead to some brainstorming while learning new techniques and strategies.

I was lucky enough to give some advice regarding the re-design of another designers web portfolio. It can be very challenging for us Designers to “Design for Yourself” but it’s important to understand that a website can also serves as a platform for one to play, learn and find more ways to manipulate the interactive environment. I took this opportunity to stop and go back to a root level to break down the structure of web portfolio and this was my advice:

Develop the Model:
Ask yourself these questions before touching a computer:
What is the Goal? (She was looking to be hired by another employer).
What do I want to communicate?
How does this communication play into a story?
What Content do I have? What is relevant to communicate based on the over-all goal.
Who do I aim to reach? Find these people or people similar to their personas and do some research on what they’re looking for while understanding any questions they may have.
Why are these people coming to your website?
Does the goal meet or satisfy what your potential viewers are looking for?
This information will help develop the framework that will start the foundation of the website so make sure this information is focused and organized.

Start the Visual Design Process:
Start thinking about how to communicate the story. Explore how design helps to meet the goals and answer the questions that where understood based on the research. Good Design tells a good story in a easy, and compelling manner. Do some research and create a mood board on what is current and what fits the contextual and visual tone that your developing. Once the ideas a flowing, start making the design decisions and explore. Always go back to the higher level goals when diving into the details of design and make sure the over-all design is being used as a tool to meet the goals and tell the story (not decorate it). Keep the sections focused on what you want to communicate as you move into more granular levels of the design. Then iterate and Repeat forever!—Because design is never done!

It’s common among designers to want to skip and jump right into visual design mode but Design is like life—it’s best to figure out what to do and how to do it, before doing it!





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